Internet polls are for assholes.
a. Agree
b. Disagree
c. Unsure

>> Tuesday

Among the many incredibly nerdy things I enjoy is deconstructing stupid voluntary response internet/news polls and predicting the outcomes simply based on the wording of the questions. Of course, you don't have to be valedictorian of Kawamoto Technical High School to realize the problem with these polls. That is, their polling sample exclusively represents the ever-biased "people who care enough about the issue to go out of their way to answer it" demographic, which inevitably misrepresents true public opinion.

Compounding the inherent problems with voluntary response polls is the incredible slant most of these questions have, e.g. "Do you think the CTA el system is a squalid, rickety, outdated pile of shit? Text 'Yes' or 'No' to 58574957340."

So when I saw this SportsNation "Vote!" thing, I thought I'd play a little "Dissect the Survey Questions and Predict the Voting Results."

My guesses:

1. "Top 5" is the most popular because the choices are always set up for the middle choice to win. (And you can discard the last one because it's far more extreme than the others.

2. Obviously the four championships. Three of the other five choices are nonsense, and the average sports fan will say "4 rings > 1 ring, therefore choice A."

3. Again, obviously the middle-of-the-road choice, as it allows for a wide spectrum of feelings on the matter whereas the other two allow for no gray area.

4. Although people are naturally inclined toward complaint and judgment, I'm guessing this is close because of the wording "Do you have a problem..." That means only people with strongly negative feelings on this issue will say yes. If the wording were "Was it appropriate for Riley to miss Heat games to scout college players?" you'd see more "yes" responses.

5. Close vote between Rose and Beasley of course, but it's totally irrelevant to the issue of Riley's legacy.

6. The "role player" like Quinn (and not the scorer or veteran) is a shoe-in whenever this question is asked about a bad team.

7. The answer (as us Marquette fans well know) is always, "We want someone better with a bigger name." Total "no" majority.

8. Total softball again. 15 wins-to-playoffs is something that maybe... 5% of people would call?

9. Stupid, stupid question, but Jackson no doubt wins because he's currently coaching the first place team in the Western Conference, and the entire article above this question has been reminding us what a shit job Riley's done the last two years.

The actual results:

1) Where does Riley rank among the all-time greatest NBA coaches?
35.4% Top 5
33.2% Top 10
21.8% Top 3
9.6% Not in the top 10

2) What has been Riley's greatest accomplishment?
50.8% Coaching Lakers to four NBA championships
15.4% Coaching Miami Heat to their first NBA championship
10.6% Having helped lead the Lakers to a championship both as a player and coach
9.5% Trademarking the word "three-peat"
8.8% Coaching rough-and-tumble Knicks to 1994 Finals
4.8% Accurately predicting his '87 Lakers team would repeat as champions in '88

3) The Heat were plagued with injuries since the start of the season. How much did this play into their 15-67 record?
54.4% It had an effect, but that was only part of the problem
30.3% Injuries are no excuse for winning only 15 games
15.3% It's the sole reason the Heat collapsed

4) Did you have a problem with Riley missing four games this season as head coach so he could scout draft prospects?
51.4% No
48.6% Yes

5) Whom should the Heat pick if they receive the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft lottery?
56.8% Michael Beasley
26.5% Derrick Rose
9.7% Someone else
6.9% O.J. Mayo

6) Which free agent is most important for the Heat to re-sign?
36.3% Chris Quinn
32.5% Jason Williams
31.2% Ricky Davis

7) Should assistant Erik Spoelstra have been promoted to head coach?
50.5% Yes
49.5% No

8) Will the Heat be back in the playoffs next season?
68.2% No
31.8% Yes

9) Pat Riley vs. Phil Jackson: Who wins?
71.2% Jackson
28.8% Riley

Ok, so I blew #7, but it's obvious that my psychological insight is boundless. So don't put your face too close to the monitor, or I'll read your thoughts.


Mike 5:17 PM  

Somehow I knew that you'd take the chance to make another post involving Kawamoto technical high school as a personal challenge.

Anonymous,  7:13 PM  

Let the record show that a google search of Kawamoto Technical School has YCS appearing on page 3. That's not bad for something that was once a news story. A toast to obscure and long running jokes!
Phil Nevin

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